The University of Arizona Secures a Simple, Flexible and Mobile Client Virtualization Infrastructure Utilizing Wyse Technology Market Leading Thin Computing Solutions

Monumental Cost Savings, Heightened Security and Classroom-in-a-Box Solution Drive Wyse Virtual Client Implementation for Residence Life Department

Wyse Technology, the global leader in thin computing and client virtualization, today announced another success story at The University of Arizona Residence Life Department.    Residence Life is tasked with managing 22 residence halls housing more than 6,000 students.  The department’s IT group turned to virtualization and thin clients to replace PCs for its staff.  In doing so, Residence Life eliminated PC purchasing cycles, slashed IT support and maintenance time, and created a secure, simple and mobile computing environment exceeding compliance and sustainability requirements.

Providing a simple and secure computing environment at any university is especially challenging given that there are limited IT staff to maintain the computer infrastructure, new students and staff to train each year, information often stored in silos across campus, and many different users sharing the same computers.  Add to that the threat of viruses, PC failures, and other security concerns and you have a recipe for an IT nightmare.  The IT staff of the Residence Life department at The University of Arizona tackled that problem head-on with virtualization software and thin clients from Wyse Technology. 

Each fall, Residence Life staff use virtual desktops instead of PCs to check students into their dormitory rooms through a Web-based system.  All of this happens over the course of just six days.  Now, thanks to the virtual desktop environment, this check-in process is fast and seamless and can be done anywhere on campus.

In addition, residence hall staff use shared computers at the front desk of each residence hall to enter time and communicate with their superiors.  All full-time staff – from the accountants to customer service representatives to the director of the department – conduct their daily business using thin clients and have the ability to work on a remote desktop at any location with Internet connectivity. In all of these situations, IT is tasked with controlling access to data and applications while providing a safe and secure computing environment.  Utilizing Wyse clients and virtualization software, the IT group created a flexible computing infrastructure that allows for the deployment of thin clients anywhere on the 356-acre campus without the burden and maintenance of virus-prone and unreliable PCs.  With client virtualization, multiple user sessions are executed on a single remote server.  Furthermore, applications and software are managed via the server infrastructure, improving efficiencies as fewer resources need to be maintained.

Residence Life made the move to Wyse in 2006 after a failed attempt at installing PCs at the front desk of each residence hall. 

According to Dimitri Petropolis, principal systems administrator for the Residence Life Department, "When I joined Residence Life the laptops installed at the front desks were unlocked, virus-ridden, and immensely troublesome.  It’s not surprising given that they had few security controls in place and were being shared by multiple users.  Nearly 200 different users shared these machines.  They were a mess."

Now, Residence Life workers use virtual clients as part of standard front desk procedures which consist of greeting visitors, checking out equipment and generally maintaining order in the lobby of each building.  Virtual clients are also deployed throughout conference rooms and for the department’s software developers.  IT security concerns have decreased significantly.

"From an end user perspective, everything’s the same," added Petropolis.  "But from an IT perspective, the savings are monumental.  We’re not replacing PCs every 2-3 years and I’m not worried about laptops being stolen because the thin clients don’t store any information they have no inherent value.  As a result, I can guarantee a level of security to my staff and the university at large.  For IT and administration purposes, the Wyse thin clients have been a godsend."

The Residence Life IT department even designed an innovative classroom-in-a-box concept that allows thin clients to be deployed anywhere on the campus within minutes.

"We needed a solution that combined the reliability and security of our thin client infrastructure with the flexibility to setup workstations anywhere on our campus to handle peak demands," continued Petropolis.  "Our classroom-in-a-box is comprised of twelve thin clients mounted to the back of monitors that connect to our classroom terminal servers.  We custom-designed the packaging to fit the clients and accessories in one box and now have a solution in place where we can deploy computing resources very quickly.  During our fall freshman housing check-in, we need all the computing resources we can muster, and this solution has been ideal."

"The team at Residence Life has been very innovative in the way in which they’ve deployed Wyse solutions throughout their department and around the campus," said Maryam Alexandrian, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Channels at Wyse Technology.  "Combined with increased levels of security, lower management costs, and a philosophy of sustainability we are proud to be working alongside The University of Arizona."

 

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